Gerald takes the reins from Ken as new mayor of Havant

NEW MAN Outgoing mayor Cllr Ken Smith hands over to new mayor Cllr Gerry Shimbart.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121614-1)
NEW MAN Outgoing mayor Cllr Ken Smith hands over to new mayor Cllr Gerry Shimbart. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121614-1)

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A RETIRED tailor who made uniforms for Royal Navy top brass will wear his own regalia for the next year.

Councillor Gerald Shimbart was made mayor of Havant yesterday and his wife, fellow councillor Elaine Shimbart, will join him as the mayoress.

Cllr Shimbart, 68, owned a tailor’s shop in Portsmouth for 25 years before retirement.

He said he was honoured to take over the reins from Councillor Ken Smith in what is set to be a busy year.

Speaking at yesterday’s mayor making at the Public Service Plaza, Cllr Shimbart said: ‘I’m nervous but very excited.

‘It’s going to be a brilliant year because there’s so much going on.

‘We’ve got the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympics.

‘Of course we have our own Havant School Games which will involve more than 50 local schools and 15,000 children.

‘Then I will have the great pleasure of bestowing the Freedom of the Borough on 47 Regiment Royal Artillery from Thorney Island on June 30 in recognition of all they have done since they were established.’

His two children and their children supported Cllr Shimbart who announced that his nominated charities for the year are Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Samaritans, Smile Support and Care, Family Liaison Autism Support Havant and Cancer Wise.

Children from Hart Plain School, which is in Cllr Shimbart’s Hart Plain ward, performed at the ceremony while the former and new mayors swapped robes.

Cllr Smith’s tenure was praised by Cllr Jenny Wride who said he and his wife Hazel were genuinely interested and involved at every one of their 400 appointments and were a credit to the borough.

It was announced that they have raised at least £21,000 over the past year for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Ambulance, The Rowans at home service, Dorothy’s Dream and smaller charities.

Cllr Smith said: ‘We’ve enjoyed our year immensely and children always make it a special occasion.

‘Some of the things I’ve been asked are whether I live in a castle, if I have a sword and whether I’m really rich.

‘It’s been great fun but I’m looking forward to reverting to the role of doting grandad and our two sons have hinted they will be pleased to see us again.’

The mayor’s civic church service will be held at St George’s Church, in Waterlooville town centre, on Sunday morning.